Mitchell Starc targeting comeback against Sri Lanka, likely to miss IPL 2016
According to Cricket Australia’s official website, Mitchell Starc is eyeing a return to international cricket in the Test series against Sri Lanka in July. This most likely means that the fast bowler will miss the entire season of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016.
This will be a big blow for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for whom Starc is the spearhead with the ball in hand. Although the Bengaluru-based team have a destructive batting line-up, their bowling is very dependent on the Australian left-arm pacer.
Speaking to cricket.com.au, Starc said: "Hopefully I’m not too far away, obviously the big one is the Test tour of Sri Lanka - that's first and foremost, making sure I’m 100 per cent ready to go for that one."
Australia play a tri-series against West Indies (who will be the hosts) and South Africa in June and Starc is quite unsure of playing in the series which is another indicator that he will skip the IPL.
"If I’m ready for the West Indies tri-series beforehand then that is a bonus, but the Test matches are up there for me to be right and available for," he added.
The 26-year-old also spoke about his recovery and mentioned that he is slowly getting back to running. He also mentioned that he will start bowling again at the end of next month and is unlikely to attend the World T20 to support his fiancee Alyssa Healy who plays for the Australian women’s cricket team.
"(Progress) is slow but I'm on track. It's nice to be running again, even though it’s slow - it’s more of a fast walk. It’s nice to be doing things in the gym, it's a silver lining, and it's nice to be able to have a pre-season before I start playing again," the Sydney-born cricketer said.
Speaking about possibly attending the World T20, he said: "Hopefully I’ll start bowling at the back-end of March and they'll have a close eye on me with that sort of stuff so it’ll be up to them to give me the green light or not."
Starc was the second highest wicket-taker for RCB last season, with 20 scalps to his name. What was more impressive was his economy rate of 6.76 as batsmen struggled to attack him in the death overs.
The Virat Kohli-led side will look at New Zealand speedster Adam Milne or new recruit Kane Richardson to fill in the void left by the expected absence of Starc. They might also be tempted to play West Indian spinner Samuel Badree, who has a very impressive T20 record.